Michael Chiaroscuro (The Seeker) : While writing this character, I had to constantly keep in mind that he was dying. I had to keep in mind the gray hair, the gray eyes, the extreme depth of the observations on all characters. I had to keep in mind that he is the narrarator, not me. This character is fictional, although I constantly get the old, "Hey, Seeker," from close friends who have read my work. As mentioned before in a previous blog, I conjured up the name based on my own name, Michael. Also, in the fictional realm, Michael Chiaroscuro(shades of Gray...I'll get back to that) is presented by "The Muse" the task of writing a novel that will define his own generation, knowing he has a deadline to complete it. Hence, Michael...one who is like God. Chiaroscuro-the shades of Gray. The alias, 'Seeker,' Is exactly what the main character(narrarator) is doing. Seeking America. I had come up with the alias while in a park in San Francisco. I'd usually sit with homeless people, help them with loose change when I could and even when I really couldn't. I learned a lot from these people, especially this particular person who I found feeding seagulls. I sat and spoke to him, telling him about my novel and what not. He asked me the point of my novel and I instantly responded,
"I'm seeking truth."
"Your a seeker of truth," he said while tossing another pinch of bread to a flock of pigeons, the sun framing his face like a saint.
The Big Pharmer: The big Pharmer really isn't a character, he is a symbolic representation of the wrongs I've witnessed caused my Big Pharma corporations who--in my opinion--hand out hard narcotics like folks hand out candy every year on Octerber 31st. Through my personal experiences and observations done while bouncing around the country, I found this to be one of the biggest epidemics in America. I've watched scripted drugs ruin people very close to me, which caused me, out of spite, to make the Big Pharma the main antagonist in my novel.
It would take me two days to explain all my characters in great detail. So instead, I'm going to tell about the trilogy, especially the first of the three that I had recently posted on my blog. When writing the original manuscript, I took the main characters names and highlighted them blue. This was a form of symbolism I used--in an abstract way-- to highlight the major influence Facebook(Bookface ;) has on society in this highly advanced and constantly progressing digital age. It wasn't until after I published the book that I looked it over and realized....Shit! I'm missing something. That's when I included the 'Like' system with the number of likes included. I thought it was very original and yes, I slapped myself on the back and in a very conceited manner said,
While formatting the trilogy, I spent sixteen hours a day burying my nose in all the 1500 + notes I had written in order to perfectly...harmonize my characters. Shredded pieces of looseleaf- even toilet paper when yes, I got an idea in what I consider the least inspiring of places. The recently released novel was like....like an intro. to the characters. I didn't want Chapters, instead I wanted to work with subplots, each subplot a full representation of epidemics occuring in the States revealed through real-life characters that anyone could relate to. Hence-Stables....Each stable a subplot, each subplot a character, each character a mirror image of the epidemic enshrouding them. Then, I had another idea. Why not give them all the same, 'peril' that they all are going to battle with. Like placing a dome over the characters world, forcing them all to interact. That's when I came up with Umbra.
I can't give myself full credit for what I consider the ingenious idea of the moon obscuring the sun, causing a world of complete darkness, which is also an allegory. Think about it....
No. A friend of mine who had gone over my very first manuscript had mailed me the edited/printed copy and one of the first things I read was...."Really think about what Umbra is...." Then, like magic, it appeared. Bless your soul for the inspiration...buddy ;)The most difficult part of the trilogy was threading together all the characters, timing out perfectly when they would arrive and where they would meet. When the entire U.S. is your setting, trust me...it can drive you to drink. Gulp.
The Muse: The dee-jay from W.W.J.D.102.3 The Station in the Sky. The Muse is God, I just decided, in the end, this would limit demographics mainly by referring to a deity. W.W.J.D. was an idea from a bracelet I found in my room. What Would Jesus Do. 102.3 came from my fav. local radiostation. A classic rock station in Erie, PA I rock out to on the daily. I wanted to be clever with this character... I guess we can call him a character although he never really appears other than in the very beginning of the novel. I was reading a lot of Jung at the time and thought...Hm...synchronicity...Fuck yes! He communicates with the characters through the airwaves in a time of complete darkness. I had fun with this.
The second part of the trilogy, which will be available next month, is action packed and gritty right down to the bone. I didn't watch TV for two years, mainly because I feel it prevents me from coming up with original ideas, characters, Ect. I did/do a ton of reading, 2-3 novels a week, mostly for inspiration, but also so I could develop a style unlike the rest. And, I must pat myself on the shoulder once again folks....
The format for this novel is not only completely unpredictable, it is...well....
Brilliant in its own way, I suppose. It is cinematic at points, but I also tried my best to pluck strings where, in more cases than not, I AWED myself--which has never happened before. I'm not going to say anymore. Actions speak louder than words as we all know best. Best wishes to all. B-E-Z.
-Michael J. Milano